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Pokémon Go is (reportedly) coming home to Japan tomorrow

Nintendo may be a Japanese company, and the Pokémon franchise may have been born in that eastern nation, but the latest pocket monster phenomenon isn’t available there yet. That’s about to change: By all reports, Pokémon Go will finally be available in Japan on July 20, less than 24 hours from now.

Pokémon Go’s augmented-reality gameplay has taken the world by storm, garnering millions of players on both iOS and Android platforms. Gamers are selling accounts for cold, hard cash and even real-estate agents are touting monster sightings to boost sales.

So the fact that this title isn’t available in Japan yet seems ridiculous — and even more impressive.

Related: Ready to become a ‘Pokémon Go’ master? Our ultimate tips guide

Japan has traditionally had one of the strongest Pokémon audiences in the world, so it seems likely that when ‘Go is released there, fans will lap it up. With a population just shy of 130 million people too, it’s quite a large market for Nintendo to exploit.

Of course we don’t know for sure if it will release this Wednesday; that’s simply what sources told TechCrunch. Developer Niantic has refused to comment on the latest rumors, but has previously slated the game to release in Japan before the end of the month. Digital Trends has reached out to Niantic and will update this piece when we hear back.

The delay was supposedly to do with a lack of server capacity. When Pokémon Go debuted in markets such as the U.S., fans were hit with repeated log-in problems, crashes, and outages as the servers struggled to cope with the massive influx of players. Within just two weeks more than 10 million people have logged in to the app in the U.S. alone, so it seems likely that many millions will attempt to do the same in Japan when ‘Go becomes available.

Whenever it does occur, the launch there will also act as a prototype for future cooperation between companies. Nintendo has reportedly struck a deal with McDonalds to turn many of its 3,000 outlets in the country into Pokémon Gyms, encouraging players to congregate there and potentially eat and drink while battling.

If it proves successful, expect that sort of collaboration to be replicated in many more countries and outlets around the world.

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